The “bad guy” in the book is the brain tumour known as a meningioma. Meningiomas grow out of the lining of the skull and invade the brain. While three-quarters of meningiomas are not malignant, they have an unpredictable growth rate. They cause problems when they take over some of the limited space inside the skull and start squashing brain tissue and nerves.
Depending on the location, people experience different kinds of symptoms. Two of the most common are headaches and seizures. Meningiomas can also affect vision, balance, motor control, concentration, energy, mood and alertness.
The treatment for tumours over 2 centimeters is a craniotomy. By comparison, my tumour (shown here and on the homepage) was 3 x 3 centimeters at the time of the first MRI. Unfortunately meningiomas have a pesky habit of recurring. As a result, many neurosurgeons prefer to “watch and wait” until it becomes absolutely necessary to remove them. Eventually I had four tumours.
Celebrities with meningiomas include Mary Tyler Moore, Sheryl Crowe and Elizabeth Taylor. Although the meningioma is often referred to as a “common” brain tumour, the number of people diagnosed with a meningioma in the United States each year is less than half the number of people who die in car crashes each year.